The arrest of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams under accusations of ordering the 1972 murder of a mother of 10 has “put a rocket under the Sinn Féin European and local election campaign,” party activists said at a political rally, according to The Irish Times.
The rally, which was attended by 800 supporters, served as both an election rally and a reception for Gerry Adams, who was released from police custody without being charged for any crime. He spent four days and five nights being questioned in connection with the 1972 murder of Jean McConville.
Gerry Adams was welcomed with a loud and long ovation from the crowd and said that “the sham I was put through” sent the wrong signals about policing to the public, because the police ultimately did not present any evidence against him.
He focused his comments primarily on the upcoming elections, where he said that Sinn Fein would not be diverted from “the job of building peace” and that the political organization had a responsibility “to bring genuine civil policing that will respect every man, woman and child.”
After his release, Adams addressed reporters in a Belfast hotel about the allegations brought against him, saying, “I am innocent of any involvement in any conspiracy to abduct, kill or bury Mrs. McConville. I have worked hard with others to have this injustice redressed.”
The arrest has galvanized people in the community, with protests held on both sides. According to Time Magazine, Adams’ release was delayed for two hours by angry loyalist protestors who attempted to physically block his release until police officers in riot gear escorted Adams out through an alternate exit.
Furthermore, Sinn Fein politician and Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said his party may no longer be able to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland following the time Adams was in custody.
Democratic Unionist Party First Minister Peter Robinson said that he plans to meet with the McConville family to see what can be done to help them. ““Whilst Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein have been playing the victim, it is important to remember that the real victims are the McConville family. Ten children were left orphaned and have never received justice. This was a horrific and brutal crime.”
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